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Feds File Lawsuits against Companies for Discrimination Based on Criminal Record

Posted on in Employment

Discrimination against persons who have a criminal conviction on their record has been widespread, in spite of the fact that there are laws that prevent companies from screening of applicants based solely on a criminal conviction. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that it intends to take action against such companies.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that BMW in South Carolina, and a discount retailer, both violated provisions of the Civil Rights Act by implementing a criminal background screen policy. As a result of this policy, job applicants were screened out during the hiring process, and were not given jobs at the company. Besides, existing employees were also fired because of their criminal record.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that it has filed the lawsuit against BMW Manufacturing Co in South Carolina. The other suit was filed in Chicago against Dolgencorp which runs the Dollar General stores.
The Civil Rights Act prevents employers from discriminating against potential job applicants based on race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warns employers, that when they discriminate against potential job applicants or an employee based on a criminal conviction, they may be in danger of violating this provision. Employers are allowed to ask about conviction records when they're interviewing a potential job applicant. However, they're not allowed to use such records as the absolute criterion by which they will decide not to hire the person.

Instead, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that an employer should give the person a chance to express the circumstances surrounding his arrest and then make a decision on based on whether the person is reliable, instead of simply issuing a blanket ban on hiring people with criminal convictions.

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